Kemaman Supply Base

Trip Start Sep 24, 2009
Trip End Nov 16, 2009

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Where I stayed
Legend Hotel and Resort

Flag of Malaysia  ,
Friday, October 9, 2009

On Sunday the 5th at 6am a car picked me up from the hotel and took me to one of the airports in KL.  Took a 40 minute flight to Kemaman to check out our supply base where tools are maintained and prepared before getting sent offshore.  A driver picked up me and four other guys from work at the airport and 40 minutes later we arrived at Kemaman Supply Base (KSB).  We spent the afternoon trying to communicate with a few tool strings that were to be sent out to rigs in the South China Sea within the next few days.  As it happens in the states, we had lots of communication errors with the tools before all the parameters were correct and we were able to do what we needed.  Basically, when you have about fifteen different electronic components that have never been tested together at the same time, something is bound to not be working.  So through process of elimination, replacing one item at a time in the sequence of events, we found that one probe was not working.  So in about 5-6 hours of trying these tests, we had one string ready to go.  There were three.  Doesn't help either when you are working in an open air warehouse and the humidity is around 90% and you're wearing a hard hat, boots, and coveralls.  Anyway we closed up shop around 9pm and went for dinner. 

We stopped at a side of the road Thai place in a town between Kemaman and Kuantan, where the hotel was at.  This "restaurant" was pretty interesting.  Open air of course, no english menus, and no one working there knew the slightest English. Fortunatley three of the five of us are Malay and had no problem helping me and Alex, who is from 1200km north of Moscow (cold) find something to eat.  I had two milk shakes, a bowl of fried rice with spicey calamari, and a super spicey seafood mixture soup all for about $3.75.  I have to say it was one of the best meals I have ate here.  I imagine that a look at the conditions of the kitchen would turn some people off, but the way I see it is if these people can eat here then I should be fine too.  And if I'm not then hopefully I'll be immune to whatever made me sick the next time around.  The people of this place were interesting.  The state/province of Malaysia we were in is almost all Muslim.  Men were dressed in long robes with the hats or a combo of a long skirt and longsleeve arab (thats not what it is, but thats what it looked like to me) shirts with the little hat deal.  Mainly because of the heat and humidity at 10 at night, and the fact that the left sleeve of my coveralls bears the American flag, I slipped the top half off and tied it around my waiste.  Not that I think anyone would go mental on me, but why advertise.   

We got to the hotel after about another 25 minute drive.  Man.  This place made the trip and the long day and the long one to come worth it.  It was right on the beach, had 3 pools, and all kinds of outdoor recreation.  Not that there was anytime to do much, but I did enjoy stepping out on the balcony and hearing the waves hitting the sand.  Interesting enough, and something I've noticed about this place is the fact that most hotel bars or bars in general will have a live singer and people playing drums and guitar.  On this Sunday night (this hotel is pretty far from anything) they had two asian (obviously) chicks up there singing american pop songs and there may have been only one other person in the whole bar.  Since I was really wiped out from a late Saturday night and early Sunday, plus the 6 hours of work in the heat, I declined the Russian's invite to hang at the bar and went to bed early. 

I woke up about 715 the next morning to check out the beach and take a bunch of touristy pictures of the place.  Since I wasn't aware that we were staying on the beach and it was only for one night, I didn't really pack much more clothes than the boots coveralls and an extra t-shirt.  So I was definitely that shirtless foreign guy on the beach with his jeans rolled up looking like an idiot.  The water was really warm (obviously) but I couldn't get in for a swim since these were the jeans I was wearing on the plane later in the afternoon.  Ate breakfast at the hotel and got back in the van with everyone to go back to work.

Around 4pm the Russian and I got back in the van to return to KL.  The other three were staying for 10 days to continue work (suckers).  Two of them are brand new and the other had to stay back to train them.  I was happy to return to the city.  Took a prop job out of one of the smallest airports I've ever been to (I've been to a lot) and an hour later we were back. 

The rest of the week has pretty much consisted of what was called at DU "hanging bun", or just sitting around doing nothing.  I had another medical exam Wednesday; this one was so I can apply for a radiation badge.  Most of the offshore tools I'll work with require us to install a radioactive source (either Cs137 or AmBe 241) to help determine the porosity and density of what we drill through.  Anyone OSHA only allows people so much exposure per year to keep it safe, which is a good thing.  And of course before I can handle these things (with about a 4 foot extension rod/grabber) I have to have all these badges and yahda ya whatever send me to work. 

Its Friday night and I'm going to step out with the international crowd again.  Last weekend I met people from all over the place, including Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Canada, England, and KL.  Strangely enough, on THIS side of the world people also like to go out and socialize on the weekends.  Weird.  Anyway, thats all I got for now.
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